If anyone should tell you that every Cycladic island is the same, then he would be a terrible liar. Kea, also known under the names of Tzia, Gia or Zea, is an island so completely different from the white-and-blue of Mykonos or Santorini. The scenery variety gives you a delightful feeling as if you visited a whole country. Steep mountains, olive groves, vineyards, valleys, small fields, secluded beaches and the largest oak forest in this part of the Aegean Sean create an amazing mosaic present within arm’s reach. The latter is also a perfect place for bird – watching. No wonder that it is said to be the island of the mythological nymphs.
Due to its accessibility from the Attica, most of Kea’s visitors are Athenians, thus you can spend your time and make friends with Greek people and witness the realities of today’s Greek culture.
Kea is an island where you can easily chill out, far from the noisy crowd. Wide variety of beaches gives you a possibility to choose the one that suits you the most. Being on Kea is exactly what one imagines as holidays. The essential characteristics of the island are the peace and tranquility. There is nothing more important to do, than to relax and enjoy the view. Of course, there are many places to go and plenty things to see, although on Kea you feel that you have time for everything. The ancient city-states of Ioulis, Karthaia, Koressai and Poiessa seem to confirm it.
Ioulis – the King and the Castle
The archaic statue carved in stone relate to the emblem and the guard of the island – The Lion of Ioulis, The King of Kea. It can be found in the capital of the island, an ancient city of Ioulis. It differs from other ancient settlements for it is the only one constructed inland. It houses the most important archaeological museum of the Cyclades, hidden between stately ceramic-tile roofed houses, vaulted alleys, arched passages and squares. The important must-see spots are: a Medieval Venetian castle and a neoclassical Town Hall, designed by Ernst Ziller.
Considered to be the most important of the four ancient cities of Kea, the site of Karthaia is situated high and nice trekking paths lead to it. The most famous one is the ancient trail of Vathipotamou, used by worshipers to get to the sacred places. You can find there an archaic Doric Temple of Pythiou Apollona presumably devoted to Athens. Another religious-related spot is the Monastery of Kastriani featured with a breath-taking panoramic view.
Vourkari – a beating heart of Kea
A picturesque seaside resort known for its vivid nightlife and good tourist attractions. Vourkari is very popular among the fishermen and sailors, making it a charming village with multiple taverns serving fresh fish and giving you a lively moment of pure delight. The raw climate of the island doesn’t concern you in this little port – the wind takes it easy on Vourkari. In other words, if ever you need a break from the windy weather you should come to this picturesque spot.
Kea Beaches – feel the big wave of relaxation
Most of beaches at Kea are sandy and calm, often shaded by trees and eucalyptus. The most recommended ones include Koundouros, Gialiskari and Otzias with many tourist facilities around it. However, beaches organization differs from one beach to another and many of them are hidden from the commonly used paths.
Parallel universe – sinking in Cavo Doro
Since Kea’s sea bottom is filled with shipwrecks going on a scuba diving trip may be an interesting alternative. Many interesting stories had sunk with ships like the Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, the steamer Patris or ancient Greek ships coming back from Troy.